NVC and Basic Trust
“If we can see our role as supporter, guide, and champion, we can relax. If we try to meet all of children’s needs this parenting journey is going to be quite stressful.”
Our school does a lot of work with the RIE philosophy as well as nonviolent communication. Recently I was introducing a small group of parents to the principles of nonviolent communication when we got into a deep discussion about what one parent described as a new and profound need that exists once you have a child. You have a need to meet their needs and we dove into how thinking we could meet someone else’s needs is quite unhealthy.
One of the most frustrating and humbling things about parenting is that you are in an extremely intense intimate relationship with your child. Physically, emotionally, and practically You are responsible for them and yet you cannot meet their needs. While you can offer them comfort and safety you cannot make them feel comfortable or safe. While you can create conditions for sleep and offer them food, you cannot make them eat or sleep. You cannot meet your child’s needs. You can contribute, you can help them to meet their needs, but ultimately they are autonomous separate beings.
When framed in this light, parents began to deepen our discussion into the RIE principle of basic trust. One of our vulnerable and humbling responsibilities as parents is trusting our child. We must trust our children to meet their needs if given the necessary support. Children are competent and capable. Although children need our guidance and support, they can handle this task. If we trust children we will see them in a new light.
The good news about this revelation, no matter how humbling, is that it turns down the pressure on parents. If we can see our role as supporter, guide, and champion, we can relax. If we try to meet all of children’s needs this parenting journey is going to be quite stressful. It is not easy to let go and trust but, as with most parenting lessons, you won’t have a choice. Soon, if you haven’t already, you will encounter a situation where you cannot meet your child’s need.Therefore,your role becomes to support, coach, be with, and trust. We know it’s hard. You’re not alone in this; you’re welcome to join our community dialogue.